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-Martin
Dec 23, 2004, 12:13 PM
I intend to purchase an iMac G5 within the next month or so. I decided I would go with the 20" model with a 160 GB drive. I also want to get a solid, reliable external drive for backup, but I also need to use it to save files from two old machines (ASAP, as they both have serious hard-drive problems):

1. An old beige G3 (which I had equipped with a USB card to support a USB printer and USB wireless mouse);

2. A 3-4 year-old iMac.

Both are running OS 9.2.

Clearly, I need a USB drive to retrieve the files from the G3, so it seemed to me that I should get a USB drive, or perhaps one that supports both USB and Firewire. I have had discussions with a number of folks who claim to be knowledgeable (including 2 AppleCare people and some PC folks who claim to be Apple-trained), and I have received nothing but contradictory information. Specifically, I have been told by some that:

1. Neither a USB nor Firewire external drive can be used as a boot drive; and

2. Many Macs -- including my G3 and perhaps the old iMac -- will not recognize an external hard drive larger than 80 GB.

Others have said otherwise; still others have made some, but not all, of these claims.

Can anyone clarify these issues for me and, perhaps, offer some suggestions for a backup drive? Ideally, I'd like to get a drive similar in size to the iMac's (i.e., 160 GB) and which I could use as a boot drive. And because of the seemingly impending demise of the hard drives on my other machines, I'd like to do so ASAP.

Many thanks,
-Martin

Bear
Dec 23, 2004, 12:25 PM
...
1. Neither a USB nor Firewire external drive can be used as a boot drive; and

2. Many Macs -- including my G3 and perhaps the old iMac -- will not recognize an external hard drive larger than 80 GB.
...
(1) A firewire drive can be used as a boot drive, but there are issues. It would be for emergency boot use only I presume?

(2) Never heard of that limit with a USB drive, but it could be a Mac OS 9 limit possibly.

I do strongly suggest getting an external drive that has both USB & Firewire interfaces. You'll get better performance and such on the firewire interface.

Now, I don't know if this will work, but you could possibly create a partition large enough to transfer data and then transfer the data to the new machine and then repartition the external drive.

Another suggestion might be to connect them all up to the same network and transfer needed files that way.

-Martin
Dec 23, 2004, 12:50 PM
Thank you, Bear, for the quick response.

(1) A firewire drive can be used as a boot drive, but there are issues. It would be for emergency boot use only I presume?
Primarily, yes.



(2) Never heard of that limit with a USB drive, but it could be a Mac OS 9 limit possibly.
The implication was that it is an OS and/or Mac hardware limitation. For example, there is no external HD capacity limitations with the newer Macs and OS X.



I do strongly suggest getting an external drive that has both USB & Firewire interfaces. You'll get better performance and such on the firewire interface.
Can you recommend any in particular?



Now, I don't know if this will work, but you could possibly create a partition large enough to transfer data and then transfer the data to the new machine and then repartition the external drive.
If indeed my older machines are limited to hard drives no greater than 80 GB, then partitioning as you suggest certainly makes sense (and that occurred to me immediately). However, if I buy, say, a 160 GB drive today, I can't partition it because I do not yet have the iMac G5 (which is what I would need to recognize the drive so that I could perform the partitioning).

-Martin

pncc
Dec 23, 2004, 12:51 PM
I intend to purchase an iMac G5 within the next month or so. I decided I would go with the 20" model with a 160 GB drive. I also want to get a solid, reliable external drive for backup, but I also need to use it to save files from two old machines (ASAP, as they both have serious hard-drive problems):

1. An old beige G3 (which I had equipped with a USB card to support a USB printer and USB wireless mouse);

2. A 3-4 year-old iMac.

Both are running OS 9.2.
.
.
.

Many thanks,
-Martin

The info you have received is pure BUNK.
I have been a professional Apple Consultant for ten years and have backed up, fixed, repaired, and networked beige G3, iMac, G4 and G5 computers by the hundreds.

You say you want to transfer data from old to new and be able to backup both old and new.

1) You can not boot from USB or FireWire devices unless the CPU has built in USB or FireWire ports so the beige G3 is out for booting from USB. I will asssume your old iMac is NOT an original BondiBlue and is a DV iMac, hopefully with FireWire ports. You can boot from either USB or FireWire using 9.2 and later including OS X from old and new iMacs if they have the ports.

2) Older macs can recognize ATA VOLUMES up to 127GB. This is a limit of the ATA controllers. Only ATA6 controllers can recognize more than 127GB drives. All Macs prior to the last version of the G4 have this limit. Also, OS X has to be installed in the first 8GB of a drive on the beige G3 and bondi blue iMac. This is a limitation of the G3s firmware and can't be changed.

->partition drives installed in these CPUs into two or more partitions with 8GB being the first partition. Installing OS X in the 8GB partition. Install OS 9 in either partition. I like installing OS 9 in the other partition so you can boot into either partition for troubleshooting and repair of the other partition.
3) You can setup a network among the computers and turn on File Sharing to accomplish all you want.
-> Buy a 10/100 ethernet switch and some ethernet patch cables and hook everything together. If you have a broadband Internet connection, buy a router with extra ethernet ports instead of a switch and connect to that so you can share the Internet connection as well as File share.
-> Buy a good external drive with USB2 and FireWire ports. I like LaCie, but OWC and others make good products. Buy the biggest drive you can afford. Split it into partitions less than 127GB so the G3 can access all of it. (for a 200GB drive, make 8GB, ?80GB and the rest. Install OS X in the first 8GB, OS 9 in the second, leaving the third for data.)
-> You don't say if the old iMac has FireWire, if it does, connect it to the new drive via FireWire, if not, use USB.
-> Setup FileSharing and mount the beige's drive to the old iMac and back it up to the drive. Back up the old iMac also. Do this NOW before the data is lost on the failing drives.
-> Once you get the new iMac, disconnect the drive from the old iMac and connect via FireWire to the new iMac. Transfer the data to the new iMac as desired.
-> For future backup, Using Filesharing, mount the beige and old iMac to the new imac and backup data to the ext drive. DONE.

Bear
Dec 23, 2004, 01:01 PM
...
2) Older macs can recognize drives up to 127GB. OS X has to be installed in the first 8GB of a drive on the beige G3
...
The 127GB is an IDE limit for drives directly connected to the built-in IDE controllers on the older systems. I know with OS X, the older systems can handler larger USB and FireWire drives no problem.

So, unless it's an OS limitation, I doubt the older systems are limited to 80GB in a USB/Firewire connected drive. And I don't think OS 9 had an 80GB limit. it would've been at least 127MB to match what the older hardware could support directly connected. And I bet that's not a limit either for USB/Firewire(but I don't know for sure).

pncc
Dec 23, 2004, 01:17 PM
The 127GB is an IDE limit for drives directly connected to the built-in IDE controllers on the older systems. I know with OS X, the older systems can handler larger USB and FireWire drives no problem.

So, unless it's an OS limitation, I doubt the older systems are limited to 80GB in a USB/Firewire connected drive. And I don't think OS 9 had an 80GB limit. it would've been at least 127MB to match what the older hardware could support directly connected. And I bet that's not a limit either for USB/Firewire(but I don't know for sure).

It has nothing to do with the OS.
It is an issue with the ATA controller whether it is on the motherboard, in a PCI expansion card or in a external case. First generation FireWire drives based on Oxford 911 chip sets use ATA5 controllers and thus can only recognize 127GB drives placed in them.

-Martin
Dec 23, 2004, 01:20 PM
The info you have received is pure BUNK.
I have been a professional Apple Consultant for ten years and have backed up, fixed, repaired, and networked beige G3, iMac, G4 and G5 computers by the hundreds.

You say you want to transfer data from old to new and be able to backup both old and new.

1) You can not boot from USB or FireWire devices unless the CPU has built in USB or FireWire so the beige G3 is out for booting from USB. I will asssume your old iMac is NOT an original BondiBlue and is a DV iMac, hopefully with FireWire ports. You can boot from either USB or FireWire using 9.2 and later including OS X.

2) Older macs can recognize drives up to 127GB. OS X has to be installed in the first 8GB of a drive on the beige G3
->partition the drive into 8GB and the rest installing OS X in the 8GB partition.
3) You can setup a network among the computers and turn on File Sharing to accomplish all you want.
-> Buy a 10/100 ethernet switch and some ethernet patch cables and hook everything together. If you have a broadband Internet connection, buy a router with extra ethernet ports and connect to that so you can share the Internet connection.
-> Buy a good external drive with USB2 and FireWire ports. I like LaCie, but OWC and others make good products.
-> You don't say if the old iMac has FireWire, if it does, connect it to the new drive via FireWire, if not, use USB.
-> Setup FileSharing and mount the beige's drive to the old iMac and back it up to the drive. Back up the old iMac also. Do this NOW before the data is lost on the failing drives.
-> Once you get the new iMac, disconnect the drive from the old imac and connect via FireWire to the new iMac. Transfer the data to the new iMac as desired.
-> For future backup, Using Filesharing, mount the beige and old iMac to the new imac and backup data to the ext drive. DONE.
pncc-

Thank you as well for the quick and detailed response. As I have to run to an appointment now, I'll read your suggestions more carefully later today. For now, let me simply clarify my situation:

The beige G3 is giving me a "keys out of order, 3, 99" via DiskFirstAid when I boot. TechTool Pro doesn't "see" any problems, however. The folks at Micromat told me to get the data off the machine ASAP. I do have a second partition on the drive, which seems to be unaffected, but i am not at all comfortable using it to move the data to.

The iMac is post-Bondi (i.e., circa 2000/2001) -- a "hand-me-down" from a friend. I am not sure what exactly is installed, and I can't get that info readily, as the HD doesn't mount. TTP recognizes the fact that there is a physical drive present (and gives it a "clean bill of health"), but it can't locate the volume to run volume structure tests.

My plan for the future was simply to replace both machines with the new iMac and a solid backup capabilty; my desire for a bootable external HD was simply for use with the iMac G5.

I'll be back later. I hope to be able to buy something tomorrow (or ASAP thereafter) that will enable me to get the data off both machines before it's lost forever.

Thanks again, pncc.

-Martin

Bear
Dec 23, 2004, 01:22 PM
It has nothing to do with the OS.
It is an issue with the ATA controller whether it is on the motherboard, in a PCI expansion card or in a external case. First generation FireWire drives based on Oxford 911 chip sets use ATA5 controllers and thus can only recognize 127GB drives placed in them.Actually some OS's had odball limitations on disk devices. I just don't know for sure on System 9.x.

And since the person is buying a new unit, I presume the builtin controller would suppport the capacity of the drive shipped with it.

I was just trying to point out the facts that I knew for sure and differentiate it from what I thought.

pncc
Dec 23, 2004, 01:47 PM
Actually some OS's had odball limitations on disk devices. I just don't know for sure on System 9.x.

And since the person is buying a new unit, I presume the builtin controller would suppport the capacity of the drive shipped with it.

I was just trying to point out the facts that I knew for sure and differentiate it from what I thought.

I am unaware of OS limitations on disk devices, only the ATA5 and earlier and beige G3 and earlier firmware issues.

YES, the new iMac G5 has an ATA6 controller so big drives are compatible.

Your response sounds defensive. If I came on hard in a 'corrective' manner, I apologize, that was not my intention. I only wanted to be clear and conclusive.

solvs
Dec 23, 2004, 02:46 PM
ATA limits will not affect FW drives. And the new iMacs use Serial ATA for the hard drives.

Why not just buy an external fw case, and put the old drives in them? Then, if you want to upgrade to a better drive, you'll have a case all ready to go. Newegg has some cheap ones, OWC has some good ones. Just make sure they are compatible with larger than 128GB drives. Even better, just use Target Disk Mode through FW as mentioned above with the iMac. Or networking for both, also mentioned above. Pretty easy to setup. Otherwise, unless the internal Beige G3's drive is SCSI, just put it any old external case and transfer it to the new Mac's intenal drive, then back it up in the new external you put in to the case.

-Martin
Dec 28, 2004, 04:50 PM
ATA limits will not affect FW drives. And the new iMacs use Serial ATA for the hard drives.

Why not just buy an external fw case, and put the old drives in them? Then, if you want to upgrade to a better drive, you'll have a case all ready to go. Newegg has some cheap ones, OWC has some good ones. Just make sure they are compatible with larger than 128GB drives. Even better, just use Target Disk Mode through FW as mentioned above with the iMac. Or networking for both, also mentioned above. Pretty easy to setup. Otherwise, unless the internal Beige G3's drive is SCSI, just put it any old external case and transfer it to the new Mac's intenal drive, then back it up in the new external you put in to the case.

Hi, solvs.

Thanks for your suggestion. But first things first: Whether I network the machines together, or bundle the old drives in a single enclosure, I first need to get the drives back into working order. That may very well involve reinitializing them. But before I do that, I need to (somehow) get the data off of them, and stored away safely (presumably, onto this external drive I am seeking to buy).

-Martin